Girl Scouts Makeover


The Girl Scouts are getting a makeover.

Frankly, they need it.

The Boy Scouts was my first “feminist cause.” My mother sent me to Brownies one year, where I learned to braid hair.

Both my brothers became Eagle Scouts and they learned how to survive in the wilderness, went on great big adventures, their service projects involved actually engineering and building projects. The Boy Scouts were allowed to fly in my dad’s plane. I was not.

I had Scout Envy. I was purely jealous. Now I have Scout Envy for my daughter.

 I signed Ainsley up for Daisies, the age-equivalent of Cub Scouts. I saw those commercials by Dove about body image.  Ainsley has done a bi-weekly craft while my friend’s sons have gone to Nasa for a sleepover and had Mother-Son and Father-Son camping trips.

Both organizations focus on helping others – Boy Scouts focuses on teaching boys real, tangible, useful skills like finance and engineering and survival – to help others. Girl Scouts focus on feeling really lousy that they are lucky enough to have a home and parents and food when others don’t and making a glue and glitter picture about it.

My daughter doesn’t need one more place on earth to make a craft or to learn to feel bad for others. Seriously, its at home, at church, at school, in literature, in girl-books, girl-games online. My poor child is so freaking empathetic by now I’m starting to worry about her ability to enjoy her life.

Here’s how Girl Scouts should be made-over:  rip off the Boy Scouts.

  • Take the childhood obesity epidemic and make girls real competitive athletes. Body image will follow physical challenge.
  • Turn Girl Scouts into the science and engineering competitive track.
  • Take this financial crisis and teach girls how to compete in businessand understand a dang interest rate.  Contract Suze Orman to write the curriculum.
  • Teach girls how to tie knots, survive in the wilderness, read a compass, and all the other cool outside activities Boy Scouts do.
  • Explore big professions and the skills they’ll need like salary negotiations. Visit Nasa, go on tours at Grad Schools, hold mock courts, negotiate contracts, explore world government, build websites, etc.

In short, Girl Scouts – you do not need to be hipper, more fun, flashier or sexier, or even more relatable to girls to get membership numbers up as this MSNBC story suggests is their goal. I’m not signing my daughter up for that.

Instead Girl Scouts should be hard. I want her to be challenged, exposed to ambitious goals and taught how to reach those goals. I want her natural abilities to be stretched to the point where she actually has to strive to meet very difficult goals.  I want to expose her to adventure, Big Boy Adventures.

That’s what she’s not getting anywhere else. That’s what I’ll sign her up for.

13 replies
  1. mrsblogoway says:

    I agree! What little girl wouldn’t love camping, adventure and learning? It’s crazy that they limit what girls are “supposed to” be interested in…

  2. ScoutMom says:

    This is exactly why my daughter is not doing Girl Scouts, BUT is accompanying my son as much as possible during his Cub Scout adventures. My daughter had many friends who were signing up for Girl Scouts. I asked her if she wanted to. We looked at the website, she looked at her friends’ materials, and asked when they got to use a pocket knife (like her brother had just done in his den meeting). So, no GSA for our family. We are BSA all the way – and when my daughter turns 14, she will join a Venturing Crew!

  3. Katharine says:

    Weird. I’m Canadian and Scouts IS open to girls up here: http://www.scouts.ca/dnn/AboutUs/Youthprograms/tabid/61/Default.aspx

    But I have to say that my brownie/guide/pathfinder/ranger experience was kick ass and I learnt all the survival stuff PLUS lots of ‘craft’ stuff like knitting, sewing, cooking, tool usage, woodworking which I use to this day.

    I have a (little) daughter now and I still think there is value in Girl Guides especially as a girls-only experience. But maybe it’s just different up here.

  4. Staci says:

    My parents were both boy scout den leaders, and I LOVED joining in during boy scout activities. So I was tragically disappointed when I joined the brownies and it was so lame.

    But remember how crazy the Mormons were about investing in boy scouts? Why no girl scouts? I think about that now. I wonder how much more rewarding it would have been if my parents and community had invested the same time, energy and even money into similar girl activities.

  5. Staci says:

    I will say that I hope a third option emerges that is open to kids of both sexes. I have great memories of boy scouts, but I feel I can no longer support their activities because of their anti-gay stances. They are a private organization, so I believe in their right to do what they want. I just don’t want to support it. I’ve no idea what GSA’s thoughts on that are though.

  6. Anna K says:

    Go Tracee!

    I hope you send this letter to the Girl Scout board.

    But if they won’t change, maybe you should start a new organization. I’ll sign my daughter up!!!

    PS, what is up with blog fabulous? I keep getting popped over to some other blog!

  7. Carol says:

    I don’t understand. I teach all of this to my Girl Scout Troop….we go camping learn how to use a pocket knife–outdoor skills all the way. We do a Mother’s Day craft–that is about it. No hair braiding for us! I guess it is just the troop the girls join….hope mine wasn’t expecting tea parties.

  8. Michelle says:

    Wow, I am teaching my 2nd-3rd grade troop trail signs and knife safety skills. Did a search online for more ideas and end up on this silly site. These posts are amazing.
    In cub scouts, our pack was only allowed TWO campouts by council unless they were at boys scout locations that were extremely lacking. Here I am in Girl Scouts and getting to triple the amount my troop gets to go camping and learn outdoor skills. Cub Scouts are required to go camping only with their families. While in Girl Scouts, girls and mothers are learning to let loose of the apron strings just after kindergarten. Girl Scouts you can even learn to use a pocket knife at an earlier age and troops are more girl lead for leadership skills.
    I am thankful there are many different troops (instead of packs) where girls can join a troop that works best with what interests them. A troop that gears towards crafts, another that is into sports, or like my troop who loves camping and hiking.
    Instead of spending your time complaining, maybe you should find your daughter another troop, or get out there and make a difference by becoming a leader yourself.
    Girl Scout Troops are more GIRL lead starting at an early age. Did you ever consider that your daughters troop decided themselves that they wanted to braid hair or do crafts? Or maybe the leader has too many parents wanting to tag along and never let their daughters grow up?
    Most of the troops I know that do not camp much, have mom’s in the troop that can’t let go of their daughters growing up or the mom’s are afraid of snakes to they don’t want their daughters going, while the girls are craving the outdoors.

  9. Krystle says:

    I agree with Michelle! I am a Brownie Girl Scout leader myself. The type of things you do within a troop is based on the type of leader that you have. My troop focuses on outdoor skills (Sawing, building, constructing, fire building, archery, camping, etc.), and hard work, but also recognizes the feminine side of the girls and also incorporates house skills (cooking, sewing, knitting, child care, etc.). I think it is wonderful that there are so many types of GS troops out there that a girl who only wants to camp can find a troop that suits her and a girl that only wants to cook and shop has a place to go.
    If you are unhapy with your troop just spend some time asking around about which troop is more geared towards your desires. Another option would be to have a boy scout leader take over a girl scout troop and you can assist. That way the troop would be getting the same type of boy scout knowledge, but the feminine side that you provide. Everyone needs to realize that Girl Scout leaders are volunteers and do not deserve to be criticized on their work. If you do not like something, do something yourself to improve the cause.

  10. Krystle says:

    P.S. Staci — The GSUSA has no policy on homosexuality. I’m sure it would be polite just to tell the leader about a child’s sexual preference so that if certain issues do arise (such as a crush happening within the troop, as this is the age where hormones rage :D, or questions being asked) The leader will know how to address it.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.